Faced with King Philip who escapes from the ""melancholy squalor"" and futility of his lot in the guise of a falconer, one thinks willynilly of Ivanov Seven--in a clipped, highly polished style both turn convention inside out to expose its absurdity. Philip is married to a petty tyrant twenty-two years his senior (as the result of a deal between their fathers to end a forty-three year war; besides, ""there was no one [left] for Gertrude to marry""). Remembering the stories that had enthralled him as a boy, he is convinced that everything has passed him by; only the inscrutable falconer and his falcon absorb him. ""Why couldn't he have been born a falconer himself?"" And then the two catch and train a young falcon, and Philip, newly confident, quits castle and realm. At the last he is attached to a flourishing court, listening with a hidden smile to the ballad of a far-distant king borne away by a falcon. ""It is not often,"" he things, ""that a king can exchange his kingdom for a song."" An engrossing, exultant little fable, illustrated (on almost every opening) to fine-hatched, soft-washed perfection.